Dear FutureMe…

It was my birthday on April 8th. I just turned 20 and I’m still feeling a bit lost and unworthy of a lot of things. New insecurities have manifested, some of the old ones are still present. It’s a work in progress.

I opened my email today and found this note I wrote to myself on my 19th birthday to give to my future 20 year old self. It warmed my soul <3.

Dear Diary

It’s currently 9:06am. I just finished a sweaty workout and am sitting on my Yoga mat with my gross hair in a bun, listening to Too Young to Burn and simply just vibing.

It’s been a hell of a couple weeks ya’ll. I feel like I’ve been getting whipped by a belt for the past month with the amount of stuff that I had to do academically, socially, even emotionally.

Today was different though.

My alarm went off at 6:00am. I physically just was not in a position to wake up, so my alarm went off again at 6:15am. Could not get up again. Alarm went off at 6:30am. I was awake. At least I thought I was. But then I check my phone again and it’s 7:11am.

I had a moment of panic, but then I smiled. I smiled at the fact that I gave myself enough grace to just sleep. I haven’t done that in a while. It felt good to just give myself unconditional love and permission to rest. I gradually got up at 7:30am, did my morning routine, got my cup of coffee, and submitted an assignment.

And then I finally got a workout in. I forced myself to stop working and just sweat it out. I am immensely grateful that I listened to myself because I just feel so freaking rejuvenated right now. It may also have to do with the fact that I was listening to Dr. Santos’s podcast while working out. The episode on Guilt made me feel incredibly validated. Listening to something that brought joy to my soul while simultaneously sweating my ass off with Kayla Itsines’s workout ultimately made my morning so freaking amazing.

I’m happy. I’m glad I got some endorphins out. I’m elated that I was kind to myself this morning. Just a reminder for all of you to also do the same. It’s a nice feeling 🙂

The Desire to be a Good Person

After venting about something I did yesterday, my roommate said to me “Esha, you don’t have to be THAT good of a person. No one is that good or perfect.” Though she said it jokingly, it stuck with me.

The “Self-Help” area of content has been on the rise – especially since the pandemic began in 2020. More and more people are becoming popular on YouTube, many more are creating amazing podcasts, others are writing killer novels. Every one of them has a different way of conveying, essentially, the same message about life: how to be better human beings.

One of the most notable people known for helping people find inner peace and develop better lifestyles is Jay Shetty. I watched so many of Jay’s YouTube videos and listened to several of his podcast episodes throughout 2020. He speaks about our natural human tendencies and offers solutions to become “better” people.

One of the things that stayed with me after reading his book, Think Like a Monk, was the chapter on gossiping. He claims that “negative feelings come out in the form of complaints, comparisons, and criticism. All three are dangerous traps to fall into because they cause us to forget the blessings we have in our own lives.”

I remember after reading that chapter, I started questioning everything about my existence LMAO 😂 . I felt like a terrible human for complaining to my mom that day about something someone did and venting to my friend about this other person for doing something terrible.

However, here I am, in college, surrounded by amazingly amazing people. At the same time, I’m also surrounded by people who breed negativity and toxicity. I learned that I do not need to feel guilty for talking about people who truly hurt my soul. It does, on the other hand, scare the crap out of me when I speak about the amazingly amazing people (I’m not sure if this made sense, but I’m just trying to get my feelings out here ya’ll 🙈).

That’s when Shivani told me that it’s okay. It’s okay to go back to our natural human tendencies. Us human beings are natural gossipers, and sometimes, no matter how hard we try, that inner sapien self comes out. This is when we have to be gentle with ourselves. This is also when we must realize that it is impossible to be a “perfect” person. We’re all flawed. And yes, it’s an amazing thing to be able to recognize our flaws and work on them. But it’s also okay if we mess up. We’re messy people living in a messy world.

Dear Diary….

You are okay. You are overwhelmed, but you are okay.

Your monotonous routine was suddenly bombarded by other factors and that has been the biggest source of anxiety for you. You have been unable to wake up at the dusk of dawn like you usually do. Your ability to work for hours on end has significantly decreased. You’re reverting back to the mindset of thinking that you are “falling behind.” It’s all of this and more that is scaring the living daylights out of you. You are okay.

Let me be your guiding light 💡

Rigid routines are just as anxiety provoking as not having a routine at all. Striking that balance is essential. You don’t regret any of your decisions when you prioritized your health and happiness. And if you do, you shouldn’t. Health and happiness should be strived for. They should never be second priority. It’s uncomfortable for you because you’re not used to it. But here you are, letting yourself try new things and feeling new feelings in 2022. Though you are now silently cursing yourself out for allowing so much work to pile up, remind yourself that this – “this” meaning the present moment – is a tiny tiny tiny drop in the vast ocean that is your life. Everything is so temporary. You are okay.

Let me also remind you that there is no such thing as “falling behind.” There are no ‘start’ and ‘finish’ lines in life. It’s just a wiggly and curvy path that only comes to an end when our biological selves decide to shut down. Up until that point, your only job is to navigate through that path at your own time and pace – free of comparison and full of an extreme amount of self-compassion.

Rooting for you always.

Rest Up!

Coffee Date #25 and I had some amazing Frutta Bowls today. I came back home from campus and felt the food coma kick in.

My original plan was to come home and bang out a shit ton of work so that I could get ahead of my classes that are beginning next week, and possibly even get in a good workout.

What actually ended up happening is my mom excitedly jumping up and down as soon as she saw me, me smothering my brother, and my cousin being her usual hilarious self.

Despite all the love and energy I was receiving from my family, I forced myself to go upstairs to start my classwork. I barely lasted 30 minutes before I realized that I couldn’t work anymore. Hoping that maybe having my endorphins pumped up would help me finish my work, I went to go put my workout clothes on. That’s when my brain decided to activate and tell me that my body was just not really feeling it today.

That ‘devilly’ side of everyone’s inner self began telling me that I already did not do enough work, so now if I skip a workout, I will be utterly useless, unproductive, and a disaster.

It took me around 10 minutes to come to peace with my decision: let go of work (you can do it tomorrow), listen to the combined connection of your mind and body (skip a workout), and go spend time with your favorite humans (especially because you haven’t seen them for a week).

I always read and look for a resource to bounce me out of my negative self-talk because, naturally, I seek for validation. I look to find other people who have a similar experience because it provides me with so much comfort knowing that I’m not alone.

Therefore, I found this article and it kinda helped me ‘snap out of it.’ Specifically, the part of the article that states that we need to “avoid feeling guilty about feeling guilty” and “focusing on what you love about your workout, rather than punishing yourself when you need to skip it.”

Overall, I’m just super proud that I was able to force myself out of this little rut because this is one of my 2022 goals: to not let toxic productivity or hustle culture rule my life.

25 Coffee Recap!

WE FINISHED 25 COFFEE DATES IN 2021!

In a world where technology is so prevalent and social connection is no longer of utmost priority, I’m amazed that I was able to connect with 25 people to talk about our lives. 2021 was one of the most enriching and soulful years I’ve had yet solely because of this project.

Here are some of my thoughts so far:

  1. I’m actively trying to incorporate some of the lessons I’ve learned from these dates into my own life. For example, coffee date #15 talked about the importance of saying no in college. Last semester, I used his wisdom to prevent myself from staying up incredibly late just to finish one homework assignment. There were many times where I put my overall well being before academics because our lives are so much more than the letter grades we receive.
  2. I’ve become more spontaneous. This is in part due to coffee date #25. Being more spontaneous also helped me take more risks. A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to become a licensed pilot. I even flew a plane for the first time ever and was absolutely in love!
  3. I learned that humans are truly three-dimensional beings. There are SO MANY authentic layers behind every single one of my coffee dates, and to think that I would not have figured that out if I hadn’t sat down with them for a date. 🙈

Some lingering questions/future directions:

  1. Do I stop at 50 or do I keep going?
  2. I need to do a better job at implementing some of the things that the coffee dates have told me.
  3. I should keep in touch (as much as possible) with these dates after we had our dates.
  4. Should I only do coffee dates with people I know?

Thank you for coming on this journey with me. We have one more year to go – 25 more dates to go – and I’m ecstatic to share everyone’s incredible personalities with you all! I may or may not have another project idea in mind after I complete my dates, soooo stay tuned for that 🥰

The Movie That Made Me Feel All the Feels

Shershaah is a Hindi-language movie released in August 2021. It’s based on the TRUE story of Captain Vikram Batra who fought courageously in the 1999 Kargil War for India.

Real-life Captain Vikram Batra

The beauty of this film is that there is no “extraness.” It’s all true (including the romantic scenes)! The film also does not preach intense patriotism as if they’re forcing it on us, which I appreciated as many films about soldiers and wars tend to always sideline to that idea instead of focusing on the courage and valor of the soldiers.

I watched this film a couple weeks ago and I’m still getting goosebumps and palpitations thinking about it, which is incredibly unusual for me. It’s the fact that it was a true story based on a real-life person with such an incredible personality that left me with a lasting impact. I felt so empowered and simultaneously felt so much love, anger, and sadness throughout the course of this 2 hour film. The movie did a phenomenal job of showing us that soldiers have families and loved ones, who they leave behind to fight daily to protect every single person in their nation.

Tears just bursted out of my eyes when they ended the movie with this dialogue:

The song below has been throwing me off so much as well. I’ve been listening to it on repeat during my car rides or walks because of how bittersweet the lyrics are. The lyrics essentially translate to “When you’ve finally gotten to be with the love of your life, how do you say goodbye so soon? How do you tell him just to stay a little while longer, especially if he’s leaving for a long time to serve the nation?”

It does not matter if you don’t know the language, but I highly recommend every single person watches this film. It has made me appreciate life a bit more and understand that we have an immense responsibility to better the nation because millions of soldiers are risking their lives every day to protect us.

Catapult #2 Update – Fifty Coffees

10 down, 40 more to go! 

Check out the journey and details here!

Reflecting back on all the conversations I’ve had with these 10 amazing people, I feel so grateful that I decided to embark on this journey. 

6 Important Things I’ve Learned

  • Envy is an innate human trait that is impossible to not possess. It’s more beneficial to recognize the instances when we do feel envious and actively find a way – whether that be taking a second to be proud of yourself or exiting the app/location making you feel that – to cope with this emotion. 
  • Perfection DOES NOT exist. Get it into your think head and listen to it. Despite what our society has embedded in us, claiming that productivity trumps emotional and physical well-being, YOU know better. YOU know that life is a compilation of many more factors than just how hard you’re working and how others perceive you. You’re better than that. 
  • Confrontation is necessary….but only when the other person is worthy of your energy input. 
  • Being vulnerable with others is the key to developing wholesome friendships and relationships. It is impossible and unfair to make others trust you with their life, but you won’t do the same for them. 
  • No one has their shit together. No one is as perfect as they may make themselves seem online or in public. We all have struggles. We all have suffering. Embrace it and develop resilience. Seek help – whether that be in the form of talking to your friends, finding a therapist, or taking medications. 
  • Discover your spiritual self. You never know, you might tap into your innermost euphoric self and discover a whole other meaning for life. 

I truly feel so much more liberated, encouraged, and enlightened. Every person had something unique to offer me and I am forever thankful that they took the time to share their scariest vulnerabilities and deepest life lessons with me. 

There were numerous times where I drove back home from a coffee date, and simply started tearing up with joy. The amount of exuberance, energy, and significant relief that I gain from each date and each person is extraordinary. 

I love this so much and am even more ecstatic to continue bringing you all with me into these conversations! 

Reflecting on my New Year’s Resolutions from 2 Years Ago

I am the queen of setting an excessive number of New Year’s resolutions and then not following through with them throughout the course of that year. Two days ago I found this 👇🏽 gem of an Apple note that I created in December 2018 (being a bit vulnerable by sharing the screenshot :/). It was a wholesome, yet weird feeling to ruminate over this list nearly 2 years later.

Thank god Apple saved this note because it has now given me the chance to reflect.

I like how the 2018 me was trying to dig into bettering myself internally. Not gonna lie, I laughed when I read “give 0 shits about other people’s opinions.” Reading that made me realize that at one point in my life, I was obsessed over other people’s opinions of me. I based so many decisions off of their opinions, which is never the healthy option! I’m proud of my 2018 self to have realized that and have written it down as one of my resolutions (definitely took more than a year to get over that obsessive feeling, but am reaching that goal slowly, but surely).

The “keep your relationships with people” bullet point hit me. It’s still relevant to me two years later. This is something that I’ve been working on a bit extra in 2020. I’m not sure how this always ends up happening, but after I spend too much time with someone, the relationship just naturally dissipates – I blame myself for this, but it’s possible that both of us are at fault. To form lifelong friendships, I need to learn how to maintain those relationships, so this list was a good reminder that this should be a lifelong resolution of mine.

“Be a proud Indian” took me on a trip back down memory lane when I was practically ashamed of being an Indian woman (a feeling that most Indian Americans probably have felt at some point in their lives). This one took more than a year to fulfill, however, I am glad that I could accomplish that resolution from my list because I sure am a proud Indian.

Thank the lord for bullet journaling because I can proudly say that I have fulfilled another one of my 2019 resolutions: no more procrastination.

I do recognize that there were some major flaws in the making of my 2019 resolutions: 1) there were way too many resolutions, making it hard to fulfill all of them in just a year 2) I wasn’t specific enough. My 2021 resolutions are going to be far different from the list I made for 2019. I’m going to outline them below, so that I hold myself accountable for these resolutions.

2021 New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Journal 
  2. Be more patient 
  3. Don’t feel guilty 
  • Journal: Journaling is something that almost every “self-help” coach, successful entrepreneur, and even therapists suggest that we do; however, we mostly don’t listen to the advice of these experts. I blame my laziness and anxiousness on my inability to journal. In order to journal, I would need to carve out time from my schedule to write about my life. This means I’m losing time from doing other “more productive” work, like studying, spending time with Arya, even watching Netflix. Nonetheless, it’s crucial for every single person to spend a minimum of at least a half hour, if not more, with just ourselves and our thoughts. I don’t give myself enough time to process everything I’ve done in the day nor do I have time to process my feelings. I believe that journaling will force me to acknowledge, validate, and reflect on my own thoughts and emotions. This will make me more self-aware and will hopefully enable me to better myself. 
  • Be more patient: I get super tense if I fall off my schedule (even if it’s by a minute). This results in unnecessary panicking and releasing that panic as anger on my family if they arrive in time during my panic sessions. Recently, I saw the talk by Mel Robbins linked below 👇🏽 in which she explains “The 5 Second Rule.” In 2021, I want to incorporate this rule into my life, so that I can not only propel myself to do things that paralyze me, but also work on being more patient, attentive, and amicable towards my family and friends as it’s a way to control toxic emotions from diverting onto others.
  • Don’t feel guilty: Guilt and I go way back and it’s one of my most stable and toxic relationships. With this newfound time during 2020, I was able to reflect on this feeling and realize that guilt is my biggest paralyzer. For example, in a simple situation, like eating ice cream once in a while to please my period cravings, I feel an immense amount of guilt afterwards. I am unnecessarily brutal to myself after falling prey to the delicious, creamy taste of Cold Stone’s chocolate devotion ice cream because I attribute this once-in-a-while action to the reason why I’m never going to reach my fitness goals. Guilt accompanies me in the most complex situation as well: when I won my pageant title, a tiny tinge of guilt followed with the sash and crown. I felt guilty for winning (especially the national pageant title) because I felt as though many other contestants slayyed their talent round, speech, or walk better than I had. In the latter situation, this is what is supposedly known as unhealthy guilt. When dealing with unhealthy guilt, the outcomes are rarely in our hands. As a result, it’s crucial to work on changing our mindsets instead of succumbing to that guilty feeling that ends up making us feel worthless in the end.